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Best way to disclose pregnancy early in the interview process
August 12, 2014 11:36 PM   Subscribe

I am interviewing for a job I am very interested in, but do not need. At the same time, I'm early in a pregnancy and want to tell the hiring manager about it. What is the best way to position my pregnancy and expected leave proactively and positively?

Background:

I have a secure full time job with generous maternity leave benefits. I just told my current workplace that I am pregnant and will be on leave in early 2015.

Opportunity:
The new job is with a company I formerly worked for and have a good relationship with. The hiring manager is a former manager of mine who I like and respect a great deal. Though it is very early in the interview process I have been told I am a serious and preferred candidate. My motivation to disclose the pregnancy now is that it will soon be obvious and given my extensive personal relationships at this company people will find out. I also do not want to cause the hiring manager any issues and want to be open and honest throughout the process. Finally, if I do receive an offer I want to discuss maternity leave and benefits with HR since I will not be covered under FMLA since I will be between 4-6 months pregnant when I start the job.

My experience with the company is that they are family friendly and unlikely to have an issue with pregnancy and leave. Others have been promoted during maternity leave, etc.

Other background:

I am the primary breadwinner and there is zero chance I will not come back after maternity leave.

This is my second child and I know the drill in terms of working with a small child. I am prepared for the hard work and my family is set up to support it.

I am extremely healthy with plenty of energy. I worked on major projects during my last pregnancy and expect to maintain high performance during this pregnancy as well (though certainly you never know how it will progress)

Summary:

As my potential future manager what would you want to hear?

Please focus on how I communicate this information, not whether to tell. I understand the downsides of disclosure but have decided this is important to reveal now for the reasons above.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total)
 
I would not want to hear about this. For legal reasons, I would not not not want to hear about this. It's like asking your age in a job interview, it's a big nope.

Why do you want to do this? As the primary provider for your family, unless you 're independently wealthy, this doesn't make sense. Seems risky.

I'm interested to hear what other people say because my understanding is that mentioning your pregnancy makes the hiring process legally fraught for the folks hiring you. I could be totally out of touch on this, though.

And also....Congratulations!!
posted by jbenben at 11:48 PM on August 12 [21 favorites]


Disclose *after* you have an official offer that you are negotiating. As jenben says... For legal reasons, they don't want to know right now.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:20 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as a hiring manager, knowing this information puts me and my organization in a world of potential discrimination case hurt. I don't want to know, I want to judge candidates based on their job related skills and what they bring to the table professionally only. I do not ever want to be put in the position of having a better candidate and having to tell the person who is in a protected class nope and have it come back to me as even the threat of a discrimination lawsuit.

Congratulations, and may you find yourself in the most fortuitous of circumstances with regards to both your impending child and whatever your job situation turns out to be!
posted by susanbeeswax at 12:25 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


There are another dozen "don't tell" comments here: Should I disclose my pregnancy during the job interview process?.

Congratulations and best wishes.
posted by she's not there at 1:48 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


From the OP:
Thank you for the comments. As I said in the original question I am not asking IF I should disclose, but rather the right way to frame the disclosure.

I am not going to wait until the offer. I understand that is the standard advice on the internet. In this particular circumstance that is not the right advice for me and for the conversations I am having about the job.

Again - I do not need the new job. I would like it, but not if it's not the right timing, the right fit, or the right benefits for me. For all of those reasons and my deep professional relationships with everyone involved it is not an option to simply show up at all subsequent interviews with a baby bump.

I would appreciate any insight from those who have either been in a similar situation, have thoughts about how to handle the situation, or have been interviewing in such a situation. Thank you!!!
posted by taz at 2:56 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


This is how a friend of mine handled this, albeit in a somewhat different situation. My friend had had two interviews at a company she was very interested in, but neither position was the right fit for her. The company loved her, though, and kept in touch with her about other potential openings. After 6 months or so when nothing came to fruition, she decided to go ahead and get pregnant. When she was 5 months pregnant, they called her about a new position that they wanted her to interview for. And she flat out told them, "I'm very interested in the company -- you know that -- but I'm 5 months pregnant. I don't want to come in and interview if that is going to be a problem." And they told her it wasn't a problem, she interviewed, and she took the job. She started at about 6.5 months pregnant, took a full maternity leave, returned to work full time, and is still there.

Now, her situation is different because they invited her to come in and interview rather than her proactively applying. And she was farther along when she interviewed than you are now. But it's not that different from your situation -- you have a relationship with the company and with the manager, they've told you they're very interested in you, and you already more or less know when you'll be going on leave.

So I think maybe the best way to do this, if you believe it's the right path, is just to tell them flat out at your next contact, "I continue to be very interested. You know my history with the company, you know I'm sincere. But you should also know that I'm x months pregnant and will want to take leave in early 2015."
posted by devinemissk at 4:30 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


The hiring manager is a former manager of mine who I like and respect a great deal.

"I know this makes things awkward but given our history and my respect for you I would feel like it lacked integrity to not disclose that I'm pregnant. Because I also need to make plans, I was hoping we could talk a little about what that will look like in terms of x, y, and z. I'm hoping that we could keep this discreet as much as is reasonable."

I would do that at the point of offer, if you really feel you must.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:57 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


So, there are two things you need to worry about with your disclosure: the impact on you personally, and the impact on the person who's interviewing you. If you're the US or a country with similar employment protections, telling the hiring manager that you're pregnant can put them in an awkward position. So when you say "I also do not want to cause the hiring manager any issues," know that disclosing the pregnancy might cause them just as many or more issues.

I think the best way to disclose your pregnancy is by asking about the things you're concerned about re: the pregnancy. Like, "So, if I needed to take maternity leave in February, how would that work?" Or, "I know Project X is a big deal, but there's a good chance I would need to take leave right around the time it goes live. Would we be able to work around that?"

Also maybe just ask the hiring manager whether s/he wants to know.
posted by mskyle at 6:39 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I think the best way to disclose your pregnancy is by asking about the things you're concerned about re: the pregnancy.

This is exactly equivalent to indicating you are pregnant. Unfortunately, any hint of pregnancy-related questions will indicate you are/will be pregnant. Even an extended leave is disadvantageous - from the employer's perspective, it doesn't really matter why you need to leave, just that you do. You'll be putting yourself at a disadvantage by trying to subtly get the answer here rather than just out-right admitting your plans.

You should either flat-out admit you're pregnant or completely ignore it until you accept the job. I think both are acceptable at this point because you are not covered under the FMLA (which is what I came here to mention), but anything in the middle is just being obtuse for no good reason.
posted by saeculorum at 7:29 AM on August 13


Once had someone pregnant (not visibly, she told us about it) interview for a job where she wanted to start after having her baby. She got the job and started after. I don't know if this is common, probably not but it worked for her.
posted by meepmeow at 8:12 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


If you don't think it will be legally awkward for whoever is interviewing and hiring you, then be up front now.

That said

This will be legally awkward for whoever is interviewing you.

Suppose you get the job, but they can't offer you the type of leave you'll require? I think that's a minor concern compared to getting the job unless there is some specific project with hard deadlines you are being hired to tackle.

Additionally.....

Straight up, having a second baby is difficult. It's especially hard on your first child, for some reason. Plus, this pregnancy may not be a breeze.

Right now, your cards are stacked just right. Your old employer will still be there next year.

Pursuing this job upsets the apple cart for everyone around you, and yourself. Change is stressful, even if it is positive change. This is a very real concern not to be glossed over.

I assume insurance coverage from one job to the next might not overlap. What then?
----

I sorta know the law about this sort of thing, having been in a position similar to the hiring manager's many many times. Were I suddenly you, knowing what it's like to be in the other guy's shoes, I would wait until I got the job to start negotiating leave, or I would decline to interview now but be up front now about my intentions to return to the company next year. I would not mention my pregnancy, just say timing would be better next year.

In another context entirely, I would later alert my old colleagues to my pregnancy.

Except! Wait! Isn't there something about FMLA if you don't return to your old job? Do those penalties apply if you start a new job someplace else??

I want you to be happy. I want you to remain on great terms with all current and former employers. Mostly, I want you and your family to have enough energy, time, money, and insurance coverage to welcome a brand new person into your lives.
-----

You seem REALLY keen on this job, so I keep turning over how to go about this in my head.

The traditional time to discuss compensation and benefits is when you have an offer in hand. I see no reason why your pregnancy should change that.

Waiting until you have an offer is possibly the cleanest possible way to do this.

Waiting until you have an offer may not be possible if you're being given timelines for new projects during interviewing for your potential new job. In which case, ultimately, you may want to consult an employment attorney FIRST, and definitely consult your spouse or co-parent (if you have one) and then the hiring manager, in that order.

Part of this dilemma is personal, and part of it is legal. Internet strangers can not know how your perspective employer might like this handled, especially from the legal perspective.

I think the problem is you are attempting to shoehorn what is in 99% of cases a legal issue into something in your case that is more a personal and professional concern.

----

I don't know how you let the employer know you're pregnant and get your questions answered without putting them in a tough spot concerning discrimination laws. That's why you might need to ask an attorney.

I'm sure addressing your concerns can be done up front vs. when you have an offer in hand, but I just can't square it. Because I'm not a lawyer.

Tons of lawyers have free faq's on their websites highlighting the answers to common issues. You might start googling around for an overview until you find someone in your area to at least give you a phone consultation on this question.

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 9:34 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


anonymous, congrats on your pregnancy and job opportunity! Could you send me a MeFi Mail? Set up a sock puppet first if you want. (I did.) I am in a similar situation right now and chose to disclose my pregnancy after the initial phone interviews, at the point where they offered to fly me out for an in-person interview. I'd be happy to send you a redacted version of the email I sent to the potential employer letting them know about my pregnancy. If you are sure you want to disclose at this point or at some point before the offer, it might give you some ideas on points you might want to hit and how to word things. I got a positive response and feel good about continuing on in the interview process with everyone aware of what my timeline is.

I would also urge caution in deciding whether or not to disclose before the offer stage for all the reasons mentioned above and in previous questions. However, I think what a lot of advice online in these situations leaves out is the fact that if you are visibly pregnant when you show up for an in-person interview (as I will be), you are in effect unofficially disclosing your pregnancy even if you don't say anything. There are advantages to being able to feel out whether your timelines may be mutually compatible before that stage, even if it puts the responsibility on the organization to handle things in a legally defensible way. I also think that there are factors involved in the type and level of job, type of workplace, and the professional relationship you want to maintain with the employer and coworkers (possibly for future opportunities, if this one is not a match) that make some advice that focuses on not putting the employer in an uncomfortable legal situation not as applicable to some situations.

Best of luck with everything!
posted by sock o mine at 11:04 AM on August 13


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